One spot that was recommended more than almost any other when I told people I’d be in Venice/Santa Monica was Bay Cities. A deli is not normally the type of restaurant that makes me swoon, but my beau loves a good Italian sandwich and when told this was the best, we made sure to go.
Bay Cities is actually a full Italian market. There are grocery aisles of imported goods like dried pastas, pannetone, and sauces galore. There’s also a pretty impressive cheese case. And then there’s the deli counter. They are famous for their sandwiches, particularly the Godmother. The menu is displayed on tvs, which turns over before you can read the full descriptions so it’s best to go in knowing what you want.
Albert, of course, got the godmother with the works. The sandwich is made of salami, mortadella coppacola, ham, prosciutto, and provolone. I’m not sure what “the works” are, but it seemed like shredded lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini, mayo, mustard…I don’t know but it came together as an amazing sauce. I’m normally not into pepperoncinis but here it was great (if that’s actually what was in there). Albert enjoyed it but seemed to think it didn’t live up to the hype, I think because it was just so messy. Nobody told him to leave it in the wrapper, rolling it down as he ate. As a result, all the insides gooped out in a complete mess. I thought it was absolutely delicious and would hundo percent eat again. Had he known the proper eating technique, I’m pretty sure he’d agree.
I don’t remember the name of my sandwich (something with a T?), but it was prosciutto, pesto, and burrata on a mini baguette. I was skeptical. Partly because they told me to get mine out of the deli case instead of making it in front of me at the counter, but also because I didn’t think it would be real burrata. I figured it would just be sliced buffalo mozzarella. For the record, that would still be great, but burrata? at a deli? Well, my friends, it was legit burrata. Just like this is a LEGIT deli.
There’s seating outside, but we took our sandwiches to go, along with a pasta salad (with dill and large cubes of prosciutto), stuffed peppers, olives, and grape leaves (that were an Italian version of the Mediterranean treat, stuffed with tomato-y rice and really tasty). We ate our meal outside in the lovely backyard of our Airbnb. It was a lovely atmosphere for a lovelier meal.
If you like sandwiches – like, at all – Bay Cities is a must. It’s also a .7 mile walk from there to the beach and I can’t think of many meals I’d prefer to eat on the sand.